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Active work, passive leisure? Associations between occupational and non-occupational physical activity on weekdays

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Research from recent years reports that physical inactivity is a major risk factor for global mortality. Several societal trends in the last decades are likely to have contributed to the in- creasing prevalence of sedentary lifestyles. Physical activity throughout the day has become much less self-evident and much more a matter of personal effort. Its presumed discretionary character made leisure the time par excellence to compensate for daily inactivity in non-dis- cretionary time. The historical dichotomy of leisure and paid work led to a large body of research assessing the association between occupational and non-occupational physical activity, almost always equated with leisure time physical activity. This study investigates the relationship be- tween occupational and non-occupational physical activity and adds to existing knowledge by breaking down non-occupational physical activity to physical activity in different non-occupa- tional domains of life. Using Belgian time-use data from 2013 coupled with metabolic equivalent of task scores, reveals no direct association between occupational physical activity and physical activity in the domains of leisure, household work and family care, and transport on weekdays after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics. The association between women's occu- pational physical activity and physical activity in household work and family care is the sole exception. The results suggest that a holistic, naturalistic approach to physical activity taking into account that individuals have to synchronize needs other than paid work (e.g. reproductive and social productive needs) with the institutional and cultural temporal structures of the society they live in, is more appropriate.
Journal: Social Science Research
ISSN: 0049-089X
Volume: 76
Pages: 1-11
Number of pages: 11
Publication year:2018
Keywords:Compendium of physical activities, Metabolic equivalent of task (MET), Non-occupational physical activity, Occupational physical activity, Temporal structures, Time-use survey, General, regional & communitiy issues